Wednesday 3 August 2011

Title troubles: Munching on the winding-sheet?

Which comes first, the story or the title? Or even the cover image?

Are you any good at titles? I am sometimes good at titles. In the current week, I'm having to come up with no fewer than seven titles. Yes, seven. (But in case you think I am some kind of title-machine, you should know that I have a book I've been working on for years that doesn't have its final title yet.)

Four of the needed titles are for books in a series that includes books by other writers and have to fit into the greater scheme of things. They are rather formulaic and only one is proving at all difficult.

The other three are more important, and wholly mine, as they in my Vampire Dawn series. They have to work with books that are not yet written. We have likely cover images for two, and some content for two (not the same two). I came up with three titles today, but will probably keep only one of them, and that's Shroud-eating for Beginners. But maybe the publisher won't like it, and it will go back in the box of titles, perhaps to resurface later. Some titles are too enticing not to use.

One of the Vampire Dawn books, Dead on Arrival was inspired by the cover picture (you can see it on Facebook). It was one of a batch of pictures my lovely publisher found and sent to me - it was far and away the best and has set the style for the series.

But where does a title come from? I drove back from St Albans today trying to think of three Vampire Dawn titles. I think the process went like this: 'Think of words associated with death: dead, death, cemetery, graveyard, coffin, winding-sheet, shroud - ah, weren't vampires once called shroud-eaters? This is for new vampires, so...'

How do you come up with titles?

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